In Shakespeare's day, there was intense interest
in gardens. A wealth of new plants was being brought
to England from all over the world, and Elizabethan
gardens reached new heights of beauty and complexity.
Shakespeare himself owned three houses with gardens
in Stratford-on-Avon, and his plays are filled with
allusions to plants and gardens.
Fourteen gardens in England, the United States, and
Canada have been photographed by Hales, one of today's
premier landscape photographers. They include Shakespeare's
own gardens as well as the three great restorations
of major Elizabethan properties created by the Dowager
Countess of Salisbury--Hatfield House, Hertfordshire;
Cranborne Manor, Dorset; and the Museum of Garden History
at St. Mary-at-Lambeth, London. Gardens in the United
States that were inspired by and dedicated to the Bard
include Shakespeare gardens at Northwestern University
in Evanston; Central Park in New York City and Vassar
College in Poughkeepsie, New York; The Mayflower Inn
in Washington, Connecticut; and Montgomery, Alabama.
Canada is represented by gardens in Stratford, Ontario,
and by the University College of the Fraser Valley and
Stanley Park in British Columbia. Hales describes each
garden in detail and fills in the history of its creation.
the gardens is an Illustrated Alphabet of Plants, which
includes more than eighty flowers, herbs, shrubs, and
trees that Shakespeare mentions in his plays. Each photograph,
usually made in a garden setting, is accompanied by
a quotation from one of the plays in which the plant
or flower is mentioned and is introduced with a sentence
or two setting the scene.
The combination of glorious gardens and the words
of the Bard offers many pleasures for lovers of gardens
and lovers of Shakespeare's immortal plays.